Pig’s tongue for the 1st of May

Spring by Yiannis Tsarouhis (detail)

1st of May,
beware of the snakes, bad spirits and dead returning to the earth.

So, you didn’t forget to put a garlic in the May day flower wreath, eh?

And you didn’t forget to add an olive tree branch for the family’s love, a thorny branch for the enemies and wheat for fertility, did you?

And you ate the salted or smoked tongue of the  Christmas pig! Otherwise you will be unprotected against May spells and glossofagia, the bad luck that results of  words and envy.

Oh the magic month of May!

Pig’s tongue stew (Choirini glossa stifadho)
1 pig’s tongue, well washed and blanched in boiling water
1 kilo whole peeled walnut -sized onions
1 medium whole peeled red onion
5 cloves chopped garlic
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup sweet red wine
freshly ground black pepper
sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil

Scrape the skin and cut the tongue in small pieces.
Stick the cloves into the red onion.
Using a large pot, saute the baby onions in olive oil, until they begin to brown. Add the garlic and saute for one minute.
Add the tongue, the onion, all seasonings, as well as the tomato paste, the wine and enough water to cover everything. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the tongue is tender and the sauce is thick. 
Freshly baked bread is perfect to scoop up the delicious sauce.

Mαγιοβότανα (Magic Herbs or Herbs of May) – a cycle of eight songs by MANOLIS KALOMIRIS on a set of poems by KOSTIS PALAMAS from a live concert in Tokyo, Japan, on April 30, 1987, with mezzo-soprano DAPHNE EVANGELATOS and the YOMIURI NIPPON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA conducted by YOSHIKAZU TANAKA
Till the first decades of the 20th century, the magiovotano (May herb) or sarantavotano (40 herbs) was the basic protective elixir of May Day.  It contained 40 types of herbs, greens, nuts, milk and honey.

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